Banned for Life from the Miami-Dade Metrorail

Be sure to read about the eventual resolution of this debacle here.

Wow. What a day. I’m 47 years old and got my first camera, a Canon AT-1, when I was 15 of so. In the intervening 32 years, I’ve made photographs both professionally and for my own personal enjoyment in 50 countries and in most of these beautiful United States of America. Photography has allowed me to see and experienced a lot of things, and yesterday I had an experience that I won’t forget for a long time. I’ll bet that some of the other folks involved – including but not limited to my friend Carlos Miller, various employees of a Miami company called “50 State Security,” three officers from the Miami Police Department, two officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department, and a gentleman who identified himself as an agent of the federal Department of Homeland Security – won’t forget it for a while either.

Where to begin? Those of you who are professional photographers can doubtless recount stories of this person or that person attempting to stop you from making photographs. It’s a common problem, and one that’s been around probably since Matthew Brady’s day. In some cases, these individuals have been well within their rights to stop us from photographing. Just off the top of my head I recall when:

  • The police in Cotonou, Benin, a small country in West Africa, told me to stop photographing on a city street back in the mid-1990’s and I had to comply.
  • A soldier armed with an AK-47 near Kikwit, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), stopped me from making photographs of a lightning storm from a bridge in 1993 and I did as I was told.
  • People in authority or who claimed to be in authority have asked or told me to stop photographing in Outer Mongolia, Bangladesh, Mozambique, India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and probably in other countries. I forget.
  • As recently as March of this year, while I was on assignment in Lagos, Nigeria, police officers detained me after they saw me making photographs of the city skyline from a public roadway. Though I stopped making pictures, I refused to get into their police vehicle and go to the station. We ended up in a bit of a stalemate for an hour or so, until they said I was free to go. (This is a story that ends very humorously and I will blog about it at another time. The police officers and I ended up being quite good friends!)

I generally stop making photographs, at least for a while, when I’m told to do so during a visit to a foreign country. Why? Well, because the rights of individuals in the countries I named above, and indeed in every country in the wide world except here in the US of A, aren’t protected by something called the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. That’s the little clause that here in America the Beautiful famously establishes individuals’ rights to freely assemble, to speak freely, to express themselves freely in manners other than speech, and to exercise freedom of the press.

Which brings us back to yesterday’s excellent adventure.

As a graduate student in the multimedia journalism program at the University of Miami’s School of Communication, I was assigned a project as part of Professor Sam Terilli’s 2010 Media Law and Ethics Seminar (CNJ 614) that called upon me to create a report concerning one of the class topics – the “legal and ethical issues concerning First Amendment theories and practices regarding defamation, privacy, freedom of information, free press vs. fair trial, reporter privilege, access to media, intellectual property, obscenity, broadcasting, and new media.”

Back in October or so, 2009, I had been harassed by a security guard because I brought a camera into Miami’s Overtown Metrorail station. At the time this seemed to be really unfair, unkind, and, most of all, quite unconstitutional, so for the media law assignment I decided to explore the rights that a person has, or does not have, to make photographs on, in, and around Miami-Dade Transit’s (MDT’s) Metrorail system.

Though I already felt that I had a pretty good layman’s understanding of the relevant laws, and I was certain that Professor Terilli had taught me well in CNJ 614, I wanted to double and triple check my facts. After a little work on Monday, June 28, I found that, as Victor Perlman, general counsel for the American Society of Media Photographers, was quoted saying in this NPR story, “If [someone is] photographing something that is visible from a public space while on a public space, there are virtually no laws that really prohibit that.” I know that Mr. Perlman is very good at what he does, and his statement confirmed my layman’s understanding of the law.

With this in mind, I began to exchange e-mails and phone calls with Eric Muntan, MDT’s Chief of Safety and Security and one of the nicest and most helpful public servants I’ve ever encountered. Mr. Muntan not only responded to my e-mails quickly, he sent me a copy of section 30b-5(2) of the Miami-Dade County Code, which regulates commercial activities on or around MDT property. Mr. Muntan also rearranged his schedule on Tuesday, June 29, in order for me to conduct a telephone interview with him at 7:00 am. As we began the interview, he graciously consented for me to make an audio recording of the conversation to ensure the accuracy of my contemporaneous notes. Would that all public officials were so willing to assist their constituents.

During our discussion, Mr. Muntan shared with me that his first concern is for the safety and security of Metrorail’s passengers, but he also expressed a sincere appreciation for the fact that some people, for one reason or another, will want to make photographs of the metro trains and facilities and that MDT needs to accommodate these folks. To this end, Mr. Muntan said, “We bend over backward to accommodate any type of media request that we can. Heck, we’ve shut down the system for Burn Notice and we did Bad Boyz II down here.” He explained that while commercial photography on Metrorail property is prohibited without a permit, there is no such prohibition against photography that is personal, journalistic, or, in his words, “Johnny Tourist” photography. When I asked him how his officers distinguish between commercial photography and personal photography, he said, “If you tell us that you’re not using the pictures for commercial work and they’re (for) personal use, at that point in time the security officers, and/or the MDT representative should feel that his question is answered and at that point you’re free to take pictures until the next train comes or whatever.” (The irony of this statement will hit you as you continue to read…)

Here is the recording of our conversation, edited for brevity and clarity:

Telephone Interview with Miami-Dade Transit Chief of Security Eric Muntan

WOW! It all seemed so simple! The only detail that I felt I didn’t clearly understand was something Mr. Muntan called MDT’s “post orders,” which he said set forth the “standard operating procedure” for guards on MDT property, including procedures for enforcing county code section 30b. I asked for a copy of these post orders, even a copy redacted for security purposes, and Mr. Muntan promised to have ask his staff mail it to me. Unfortunately, I never received the document, despite having followed up with Mr. Muntan about it via e-mail.

In any event, because I had read about the county’s well documented problems with the Wackenhut guards who provided security for the MDT stations up until November 3, 2009, I thought it would be judicious of me to chat with a representative of the current company that the county contracts to do the work, “50 State Security,” and get his take on things.

After several phone calls that were never returned, yesterday morning at about 11:30 I finally made contact with the company’s president, John Williams. His interpretation of “30b” and his willingness to trust MDT passengers when they tell his security guards why they’re making pictures was as different from Mr. Muntan’s as day is from night… as fire is from ice… as love is from hate… as steak is from eggs… um, well, you get the picture.

Mr. Williams stated, “All we would know is what you tell us and we would not stand by that. We would ask you to identify yourself and if you didn’t have a permit we would ask you to leave. In fact… you would have to leave or we would notify law enforcement of the situation. We would need approval from the county, a form that the county provides us.” He went on to say that anyone who does not have that form would be prevented from making photographs on MDT property.

Hmmm… a conundrum…

After speaking with Mr. Williams, it seemed to me that the only way to get to the bottom of the situation and to really understand what rights a MDT passenger has or does not have with regard to photography was to head to a nearby metro station, make some photos, and see what would happen.

Though I hoped to make photographs in and around the Douglas Road metro stop to send to my lovely wife in Richmond and to use in my report, and to then be on my merry way, I prepared for the worst. If Mr. Williams’ people were trained as he said they were, rather than as Mr. Muntan said they should be, then there was a decent chance that I would be arrested while making my pictures and go to jail. So I took a few precautions:

  • I sent an e-mail to my local attorney, Sam Terilli (yep, the same man who taught my media law class), letting him know where I was going and what I was hoping to do there.
  • I wrote Sam’s cell number in permanent ink on several public and not so public places on my body.
  • I printed a copy of the e-mail Mr. Muntan sent me that included the text of the “30b” statute and stuck it in my pocket.

Finally, I called my friend Carlos Miller, whose blog, “Photography Is Not a Crime,” may be the most comprehensive database anywhere of incidents of police harassment of photographers. (Carlos says he has chronicled more than 800 such incidents since April, 2007.) I wanted someone to be at the metro stop with me to document anything that was going to happen, and Carlos agreed to meet me at the station with his video camera.

Carlos and I arrived at the station about 2:30pm. I proceeded to make some photos and videos with my Canon 5d Mark II, and Carlos proceed to make videos of me making videos. I can only describe the events that followed as absolutely astounding.

Not astounding because a person in a uniform tried to prevent me from making photographs; astounding because it all took place in the United States of America. We weren’t in Benin, or Zaire, or Brazil, or Outer Mongolia or any of the countries I mentioned at the beginning of this little novella. We were in the United States, once known as the Home of the Free, standing on public property, property that my tax dollars helped to purchase, being denied constitutional rights that my uncle Charles Constance, Jr., in the Battle of the Bulge, my father Charles Edward Ledford in Korea, and my brother Lt. Col. Edward Curtis Ledford who by the time he returns home in March will have spent more than three years in Afghanistan and ten months in Iraq, each selflessly defended.

Carlos and I had not even left the parking lot when a “50 State Security” guard approached me and said that due to “terrorism” it was “against the law” for me to make photographs at the station. From there, things went steadily downhill.

I purchased a ticket so I could ride the metro down to the University of Miami station and back, about a two-dollar investment, but I was physically prevented from entering the turnstile by a “50 State Security” guard. The guards called the Miami Police and three officers eventually arrived. Although I tried to show the officers the e-mail from Mr. Muntan, the chief of security for MDT, the officers either wouldn’t read the e-mail or told me that it was irrelevant and that the private security guards were within their rights to bar me from the station.

Unbelievably, I was told by one of the police officers that if I was to walk through the turnstile and the security guard was to physically detain me, that I would be arrested for assault. Though I kept hoping that cooler heads would prevail, it seemed that the more police officers and security personnel that arrived at the scene, the more adamant and single-minded they became about preventing me from entering the station, with or without a camera. (This in spite of the fact that at least one person with a camera entered the station and another exited the station during the three-plus hours that I spent trying to get in.)

None of the ten or so police officers and security guards that eventually showed up for this little feté – including one individual who claimed to be with Homeland Security – would break rank. The Thin Blue Line was drawn taught, and it was not going to be broken by means of reason, nor facts, nor even a printed copy of the county statute this fraternity was so determined to enforce. Of this they were certain.

They took down both my and Carlos’ identification information, several times actually. A City of Miami cop called me a liar to my face. A Miami-Dade County officer who would only give his name as “S. Ruesga” told me with a straight face that I clearly was making photos for commercial gain because I would gain a “grade” from my professor for this project. He didn’t see the illogic of his statement even when I informed him of he fact that I’m paying the University of Miami about $75,000 to attend graduate school, though I think he appreciated the fact that our conversation had begun to deteriorate into something akin to the “battle of wits” between Vizzini and Westley in “The Princess Bride”:

Here is an audio clip of the similar conversation in which Mr. Ruesga and I found ourselves:

“But I Would Know That You Would Know That I Know… and…”

And here’s a clip of the longer conversation. At the end, Mr. Ruesga confesses that he isn’t really clear about the law that he was trying to enforce:

Semi-fascinating Exchange Between Miami-Dade Police Officer Ruesga and Me

The “homeland security” guy stated more than once that I had actually said that I was making photographs for commercial purposes. Of course because this will probably be his defense in any future legal action that may grow out of this incident, he would not allow me to correct him even though I tried several times.

So eventually, Carlos and I left, but not before getting as many of the officers’ names and badge numbers as possible, and, best of all, not before allowing Sam Terilli to listen over my phone as the “homeland security” guy dared Sam to issue him a subpoena.

Oh… and not before we were informed by several of the brethren that both Carlos and I were now banned for life from riding the Miami-Dade metro. I leave it up to Sam and the courts to ensure that by the middle of August I actually am allowed to ride the metro. I’m planning to ride the trains as I commute to the university for the fall semester, when I start teaching basic photojournalism to malleable young minds that need to understand that the rights they take for granted every day can only be guaranteed if someone is willing to fight back when those rights are threatened.

“You have the right to free speech. As long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it.”
-Joe Strummer of The Clash
(1952 – 2002)

Be sure to read about the eventual resolution of this debacle here.

120 Responses to “Banned for Life from the Miami-Dade Metrorail”

  1. dbs July 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    @Carroll Brown – Wait, what? You say “but it kinda rubs me the wrong way when these people go to a place, intentionally and obviously trying to start trouble and cause a scene.”

    What did they do exactly to intentionally and obviously try to start trouble? They took some pictures. That is legal, open, and non threatening. They didnt’ start conversations, they didnt’ get in law enforcements face, they didn’t even make a ruckus. They stood in a parking lot and took some pictures of each other.

    For that, they were harassed, lied to, and threatened for 3+ hours.

    What would you prefer they have done? Had the police and security done what they are legally required to do – that is, enforce and obey the law, nothing would have happened.

    The police and the security company broke the law and created a ruckus. Not the photographers. The photographers were doing what every citizen in the US should be allowed to do – continue going on with their lives within the bounds of the law.

    And that was being denied to them.

  2. Sketch July 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    I agree with Chuck Liddy at the top here, we should get a group of camera toting journalists, AND some regular looking folks and make a showing at the station. I am in California, there was a store here that told a NRA member they would not allow people to enter with their right to bear arms in unloaded weapons holstered on their hip. The NRA made a showing there in large numbers and eventually they learned of their mistake and no longer violate our rights as US citizens. I cannot locate the article at the moment but i will post again when i do.

  3. Mark July 5, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Keep up the good work, friend.

    Oh, and sorry to be so pedantic, but the word is “taut”.


  4. Michael July 5, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    As incensed as I am by the treatment you received, I’m a little puzzled as to the news here. After all you were told by the top guy at 50 State Security that their policy was different from Miami-Dade Metro’s. The security guards there were clearly carrying out 50-State’s orders. Perhaps the only story here is that the Miami-Dade police were complicit.

    IMHO, a BETTER story would have been had if BEFORE FILMING, you circled back to Metro’s Mr. Muntan and inform him of how 50-State Security plans to implement that policy. One could assume that Dade Metro would ask 50-State to change their policies and after a few weeks to let them correct their training you could THEN have visited the station to see if the training were effective.

    Right now you have a great police story and a less great miss-communication between Metro and 50-State story. But you could have been a force for change and have gotten 50-State to amend its policies and tested that. What would be better an amended policy leaving 50-State Security in place or a 3rd new and unknown security company?

  5. Che Correa July 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Mr. Ledford….the home of the free indeed…unfortunately I’m not surprised by your predicament…however, I do sincerely wish that you follow this all the way through…You have to make an example of these people…people who are given authority and they take full advantage of that authority to make themselves feel big…I will continue following your blog because I’m extremely interested in the outcome.

    Che´ Correa
    Che´ Correa Photography

  6. BeatenCog July 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    This is really an interesting and important issue. The facilities that I protect at my own job are considered “critical infrastructure”. No pictures allowed!

    Two things that are really important to understand:

    1. Many of our laws and even much of our Constitution which, to us, appears to acknowledge inalienable rights, are really just “telling us what we want to hear” when those tasked with actually running things could really care less about them. The “post orders” are almost always designed to limit those rights to the highest degree possible.

    So yes, you may want to think that “non-commercial” photo-making is allowed at certain places, and some people will even enjoy saying so, but the reality is that those who actually carry out the post orders are tasked with perceiving ALL photo-making as commercial. The worst part is that those who create the post orders (usually the chief of security for the customer) are the same as those who will gladly tell you you can take all the photos you like but that you need a permit if the photos are for commercial purposes. The ones whose job it is to actually follow the post orders (the contract security personnel) have to be the “bad guys”.

    2. Those security guards and cops were really just doing what they have to do to keep their jobs. Especially where the guards are concerned, it is a rough job with low pay, please realize these guys really just want to keep their crappy jobs. Contract security is a massive buffer for their customers. The customers can tell everyone whatever they want to hear so people come away thinking, “what swell public servants!”, when they know full well what the real policy is.

    You want to see who is really responsible for this policy, look at that chief of security. The reason you never received those post-orders is because they explicitly prohibit any photo-taking that is not accompanied with a permit. That is why contract-security is a buffer. When confronted with the actual post-orders, the chief of security will say that he didn’t realize they banned photography over all, and that was never his intent. But really, it was.

    I personally have nothing to do with Miami-Dade Metrorail, but please give the security guys and the beat cops a break. Go after Muntan alone. He knows full well that he will blame the security company, whos managers will blame the low paid guards. It rolls down hill, with each layer being a buffer for the one above it. He wants you to think Miami-Dade is some pro-freedom, good ol American public servants and that some bone-headed overzealous security guards and cops are really the tyrants. The real crime here would be seeing legal proceedings resulting in nothing more than the lowest guys on the totem pole lose their jobs and the big-wigs (who make the actual policy) get a pat on the back for doing such a great job.

  7. Mikko July 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    No one cares if you take pictures here in Sweden as long you do not take pictures of buildings and places with photo ban

  8. Mandy Solner July 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    I have had a similar experience firsthand here in Chicago involving the “El” train and stations/platforms. I was with a group of photographers and we were photographing the Chicago skyline from the El, as well as interesting street performers in the stations, etc. and were approached FOUR different times at FOUR different stations by uneducated CTA workers telling us “you can’t take no pictures here”. One was actually a CTA security guard! In each instance we all pulled out our copies of the official statement regarding photography from their own employer’s website (the CTA) that clearly states photography is ALLOWED as long as we are not blocking the flow of traffic (like with a tripod) or setting up any kind of lights, etc. In every instance, they backed down. It was unsettling, to say the least, that we were accosted that many times in one afternoon.
    Wherever I go with my camera now, I make sure I have a copy of the photography policy for whatever I am doing, just to cover my bases.
    What would we have done if one of the CTA employees didn’t back down? I don’t know……but it’s food for thought.

  9. Joel July 5, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    It is understandable some will defend others as just being cautious or just doing their jobs, but the point is: What are your freedoms?

    If you have to ask or seek permission from every person granted even marginal authority then those places you assume to be public are no longer public. In non-public places, policy may supersede some laws (note: some) but I would hope the exercise above demonstrates in the end, in publice, that law supersedes “policy” or one day you will find policy governing you in your parks and libraries and open laneways in ways you never dreamed of.

    So, ask yourself who you want making “policy” into law?

    It appears MetroRail has their public relations in order; it would bode well for the “authorities” belong to “50 State Security” and “Miami Dade County police” and “Homeland Security” to consider their own.

    Good work. Good challenge. I hope they give you a lifetime Metro-pass.

  10. Ronald Gibson July 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    It SHOULD have been pointed out to Metro’s Mr. Muntan about 50-State Security’s policy. For now I’ll use my cellphone camera.

  11. Bob July 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    It’s called the Patriot Act, and for all intents any purposes, it supersedes everything, including our beloved Constitution. The a-holes in the last administration and their cronies in Congress (both parties) basically set up a sidebar to the real law that states, essentially, if any kind of security personnel or law enforcement find you “suspicious”, they don’t have to justify this kind of behavior. Constitution be damned. They can just feed you some vagaries about “security” or “terrorism” and arrest you, and whether you are vindicated or not, they’ll never pay for it with their job. We live in a “quiet” police state, where it’s not in your face the way it is elsewhere, but cops don’t have to justify anything. All they have to do is state they were concerned about terrorism or whatever other BS excuses they have, and they can do what they want.

  12. DeadGuy July 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    This is sad. I was in Mexico City recently, when all the police there are on ridiculously high alert from the drug wars. We don’t hear about it in the US, but they usually have at least one bomb per day go off in the city, several drug related murders and a police shoot out or two. Security there is TIGHT.

    But, my buddy took a picture of me, standing between two heavily armed and armored and masked Federal Police officers. We didn’t speak Spanish very well and they didn’t speak English. I just pointed at the camera and then at them and they smiled and nodded. They took off thier masks so they could smile and even posed with me by pointing thier sub-machine guns at me holding my hands up, acting like they were cuffing me and a few other goofy poses. It was a lot of fun and they were really cool.

    It is just ridiculous that you got that kind of treatment in the US, by people with a better education, who spoke the same language and weren’t even dealing with “foriegners.” I think we are in BIG trouble as a country. Good job at pushing the envelope without getting arrested.

    Everyone you sue deserves it. Ignorance of the law is not a defense is true EVERYWHERE in the US. If you do something illegal, even though you were unaware that it was illegal – you are guilty. The cops will bust you. The DA will prosecute you and you will go to jail. I think it is reasonable for us to expect the people that are enforcing the law understand it. This video also shows the “thin blue line” in action – at its worst. They threaten, they lie and they get away with it all the time. Cops break the “small laws” and cover for each other – speeding, illegal parking, even drunk driving. That, in my opinion, makes all of them 100% corrupt.

  13. Alex July 5, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    Thanks for standing up for our rights! I wish there were more like you in this country.

  14. Brendan July 6, 2010 at 12:13 am #

    Guys I question that I feel that has been overlooked here is; do the private security firm have the right to refuse you access for any reason? If so can they then have a policy refusing access to anyone filming / photographing? Yes this is a violation of your first ammendement rights however is this permitted due to the deligation of authority to these fools?

    Also is there any new legislation post 119 (you just have your dates backwards :P) that restricts access to “sensitive” facilities, if so has that been tested?

    Personally I love the quote: He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security. I think it’s fitting for how far your society has fallen since 119. Terrorists win when you change your way of life.

    Also, way to go guys I think you have BALLS. However, I am suprised the cops just didn’t issue you a “move on notice” (assuming you guys have them).


  15. Mischa July 6, 2010 at 7:46 am #

    In the Netherlands it is perfectly legal to make pictures in public areas. Even for commercial reasons you ususally don’t need a permit. If it is prohibited (like military installations), there is a sign saying so.

  16. Byron Dickens July 6, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    They’d have arrested me. And then the City of Miami would have graciously paid for a comfortable early retirement for me.

  17. Mikko July 6, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    “indeed in every country in the wide world except here in the US of A, aren’t protected by something called the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. That’s the little clause that here in America the Beautiful famously establishes individuals’ rights to freely assemble, to speak freely, to express themselves freely in manners other than speech, and to exercise freedom of the press.”

    Well, have you ever heard of Europe, and especially Northern Europe (specifically Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, but also most of the rest of the European countries). Your statement is so NOT true in those areas. You would not even meet such a outrageous scene like displayed in your article above.

    Try me in this, please. If you get harassed like in the videos shown here, in some of the northern European countries I’ll personally pay you a dinner at a fine restaurant :)

    If not, then please stop your belief that USA is necessary the most developed part of the world :D

  18. JaneDoe July 7, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    I can’t even believed what I saw earlier. Police officers are suppose to KNOW the law. I’ve seen that you shown them the paper saying that it’s okay to take pictures as long as it’s not for a commercial purpose. Can they not read? What is wrong with officers thinking that they have more power over us? It clear that you haven’t broken any law, but they’re refusing to let you in. Some of the officers even got some poor attitude when they’re talking to you.

    Let’s take it to court Miami-Dade police. We’ll see who goes down.

    A little note to those officers : F#$% off. You’re not KING of our country. In fact, we’re the one paying your damn salary. Treat citizen with respect! JERKS! Btw, pleeeeeeeeeease tell them to take some more college courses because some of the officers have horrible reasoning. -.-

  19. Cory July 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    I want to wish you luck on this. I myself want to be a photojournalist too. At the moment I am enrolled at Florida keys community college. I commonly travel around on my long board at night to take pictures , or just to enjoy a nice ride. Last night i was told by an officer that I was not allowed to be riding on a public sidewalk because he thinks i have the potential to rob a house…Which applies to anyone outside , but he chose me because I was not in a car. Either way he was power tripping and probably believed that he was above the law…basically what I am trying to say is , keep on fighting and keep on shooting.

  20. omars July 12, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    Too bad stupidity isn’t a capital crime. And good thing the Miami area is so peaceful that these so-called law enforcement officers and mindless security guards don’t have actual crime to combat!

  21. Mike July 14, 2010 at 4:32 am #

    We are faced with the similar laws in the UK regarding some sensitive buildings that may be targets for a terrorist attack. So we have a ridiculous situation where photographers with long lenses and professional looking equipment are likely to be stopped and questioned as to their motives. The reasons for adopting this approach is to deter the reconnoitering of targets by terrorists. This does not stop the hundreds and thousands of tourists snapping away with small compacts – which of course is the way i suspect any terrorist would work to avoid suspicion. In your particular case I have to say you were somewhat naive in your approach, basically you pissed them off – in the standoff there was only going to be one winner.It’s all about communication and if you had used a little common sense & made contact with the right people at the top of the tree explaining your intentions then i’m sure this would have been greeted with a greater degree of sympathy.

  22. Michael July 21, 2010 at 5:51 am #

    Wow, that is something. I hope you are able to ride again in the future. I am an armature when it comes to photography. I remember when my home town river was rising and some flood waters were appearing around. And I decided to take some historical pictures of the event. One of the officers of the town saw me and asked a few questions. I answered them and he let me continue on. At the time it was an Sony Alpha 100. Only reason I got that was because it was compatible with the Minolta zoom lenses that I had. I don’t do commercial, nor any other. Just a hobby that I enjoy.

  23. Kyle Healy July 22, 2010 at 7:01 am #

    Here is a very interesting article from a town in England. This 16 year old freelance photographer was frogmarched and push down some steps after taking photos of a military parade!! The 16 year old stood up for himself well!

  24. Sam July 28, 2010 at 4:27 am #

    You are truly a defender of American’s rights. And by that I mean God you are a loser. Are you really serving a purpose here? Is the biggest problem facing America our lack of photographic ability at train stations? Let’s wait for a family member of yours to be killed in a terrorist attack and see how you feel about the importance of security measures.

  25. Mikko July 30, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    @Sam i see that you are using the old terrorist card

  26. Joe July 30, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Mikes July 14th post sums it up but to take it further, the whole point of these clowns project was to provoke. People take photos all day long on the Metrorail without incident.

    When you stand arround the station in a group with professional equipment, the guards will take notice and inquire. It is not till then that these band of monkeys provoke the guards and then threaten to enter the Metrorail to perform questionable activities.

    Rather than wasting everyone’s time they should tour the stations to see that all the tourists are getting all the shots they want and need without incident.

    Stop this stupidity of playing with the guards and do something useful!!!!!

  27. Tomas August 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    I will love to know the outcome of this, Guys, did you sue the Miami Dade, the security company?

  28. Stretch Ledford August 14, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Hi, Tomas. I’ve been out of the country, but Carlos Miller has continued to press this issue in Miami. See his latest report here, and thanks for your interest:

  29. Stretch Ledford November 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    Greetings, all. I have posted an update to the Miami-Dade Metro situation here:

    Read it. Tweet it. Live it.



  30. jimSmith March 25, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    great job guys…. this shows that the average cop is nothing but a common thug that has been given great powers, but without the responsibility that comes with it. You would think that with the crime rate and insurance fraud(Miami on of highest in the nation) they would have more important things to do; however, keep in mind that if you would have been alone or without a camera things would have been completely different… you probably would have been arrested in a second

  31. Dirtbag April 29, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    I worked on the Rail…..and I would slap that fucking camera out your face…..fuck you….want to hard time someone for working…..go argue with the Suits….come down and sweat a boot…..who is working….

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  36. Anonymous January 29, 2015 at 10:27 pm #

    I feel bad that banned from life going in metrorail. I have seen other take pictures around metrorail before never said anything. It probably 50 state security guards though was terrorist like try do their job. It could been better way solve the problems. can’t argue with authority even if it sound petty. I would suggest somebody better check the 50 state security guard company. Something doesn’t seem right. They should have somebody monitoring them make sure they level head not somebody abusing the authority. Example if police officer etc doesn’t like this person could get everybody keep tabs on them which it called stalking that against the law. In my opinion think they all corrupts should be investigate. Or least hire new whole guards that really serve the law not abusing the law. And gave common sense what know that waste time stalk on innocent bystander. I’m now afraid too take metro rail cuz think they me on watch list. It all becuz one retired police office whom live next door to me doesn’t like me have deslunional thoughts about me. It why think miami safe cops and 50 state security are corrupts bad think they trying make bro wards police do same I hope not.

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